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Smart grid savings go beyond cost

By Donna Donnowitz
January 13, 2014

While reducing spending is an important goal of investing in smart grid technologies and supporting hardware like terminal servers, the savings that providers experience go beyond the financial realm. Understanding where a firm can focus to maximize the advantages of a smart grid deployment and how to pass those benefits on to customers will go further than reducing operational costs and have longer lasting effects on service quality.

According to KPLU, an NPR affiliate, Fox Island, Wash., will be the home of a new smart grid deployment over the next five years, focused on reducing energy use across the island, with cost savings as a secondary benefit.

"I feel like anything we can do as an individual, even in a very small way, that adds up," Richard Olszewski, a citizen of the island, told the news source. "It's like interest. Over a long period of time, it amounts to something."

The grid will focus on smart meters and connected appliances to shut off power usage when unneeded in order to reduce strain on the network and overall power consumption - which in turn would eliminate need to build more dams or coal-burning power plants to supply needed energy. The U.S. Department of Energy is planning several other deployments across the Pacific Northwest, including converting the University of Washington's campus to a smart grid.

According to Green Tech Media, another key advantage of smart grid deployments is improved voltage management. Managing volts, rather than total power usage, can reduce peak-driven strain on the infrastructure while overcoming limitations of legacy voltage optimization systems. By utilizing smartmeters and the needed serial to Ethernet converter solutions to connect them to the grid, providers can analyze grid voltages and fine-tune power delivery in order to cut wattage during peak loads without affecting consumer's lives in noticeable ways - other than a reduced energy bill at the end of the month.

With expanded investments into smart grid technologies, many providers are seeing significant improvements to their operations that span much wider than initially expected. Harnessing these advantages and utilizing them to drive further growth will open up the opportunities utility companies need to meet consumer demand without increasing their impact on the environment as well.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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